A bowel-centric Jewish geriatric named Frieda isn't the focus of Allergist's Wife (though she gets her share of laughs). The play belongs to Marjorie, and the show belongs to Linda Lavin. On the surface, Marjorie has it good: She's married to a doctor (played by the terrifically poker-faced Tony Roberts), her $900,000 co-op is handsomely furnished, she has a stunning collection of cashmere, and her mother doesn't live with her (she lives down the block). But a near-psychotic episode in the Disney store -- or was it "a political statement against the Disney corporation"? -- reveals Marjorie's instability, and not even a wedge of Entenmann's can help her now.
Marjorie is as depressed as all the philosophers she's constantly quoting; as complex as the Herman Hesse world she's obsessed with. How can her successful but down-to-earth husband -- who walks the streets in a velour track suit and a fanny pack -- possibly appreciate her intricacies? So when a glamorous, globetrotting childhood friend Lee (Michele Lee) re-enters her life in an only-in-New-York moment, it appears that Marjorie's existential prayers have been answered.
Lee is a woman who's lived better than you, me, and most of the free world combined: She's shared soup with Andy Warhol, discussed landmines with Princess Di, and marched with Martin Luther King, Jr. This is a woman who can use the phrase "whimsical Szechuan sense of humor" and get away with it. She's also a self-proclaimed "passionate pain in the ass". If Mary Tyler Moore could turn the world on with a smile, Lee could turn it upside down. And she does.